Internode Blog

Home WiFi speed tips

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 by

Does your home WiFi work better in some rooms compared to others? Is it running as fast as it could be? If you notice the WiFi signal bar on your smartphone, tablet or computer seems to be pretty low, your devices or home layout may be interfering with the WiFi signal coming from your router.

Don’t stress – there are some simple changes you can make to get your home WiFi signal in ship-shape. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you make the most out of your home WiFi and get the fastest, strongest signal possible.

 

Why 5GHz WiFi is better than 2.4GHz

These days, most routers and WiFi devices feature 5GHz AC WiFi, a newer technology that offers faster performance than its predecessors. However, routers and WiFi devices typically also offer backwards compatibility with the older 2.4GHz N WiFi, which doesn’t perform as well and is prone to more interference. Many people use the weaker 2.4GHz by default or simply out of habit. The problem is that so many devices today are using bandwidth on the older 2.4GHz N WiFi network, from phones and computers to WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled household appliances, that it can cause major local congestion.

The newer 5GHz AC WiFi is less congested simply because it has much more bandwidth available to be shared between multiple devices.

When it comes to devices that you use for applications such as streaming video, downloads and social media, it’s strongly recommended to use 5GHz AC WiFi wherever possible for a faster, more reliable connection. Switch over your devices today and see the change for yourself!

How to get on 5GHz AC WiFi

If you have a TP-Link VR1600v, TG-789 Broadband Gateway or FRITZ!Box 7490 supplied by us, you’re in luck! These models have 5GHz AC WiFi.

For all other modems, check its barcode sticker for details about a 5G WiFi network – this will include the default WiFi network name and password. Then have a go at connecting – there’s no harm done if it doesn’t work.

Once you’ve got all your devices connected, you may notice an immediate improvement in WiFi performance, but there’s still some other things you can check to get the best experience possible.

Your WiFi router location matters

While 5GHz AC WiFi does offer better performance compared to older 2.4GHz WiFi networks, it does have a shorter range and lower “signal penetration” (that’s tech-talk for it doesn’t travel through objects as well). This range should be big enough to cover the average apartment or house, but if you live in a larger house or have thick walls, the solution may be as simple as relocating your router.

When choosing a location for your WiFi router, aim for the following:

  • A clear, central place in your home – ideally with as few walls/objects as possible between the router and locations where you use the internet most often.
  • Out in the open – shutting a modem away in a cupboard just adds more obstacles.
  • On a desk or elevated shelf – WiFi signal travels better “downwards” because there’s less obstacles for the signal to pass through, so starting out on the floor is a disadvantage.
  • Away from any trees, plants, pipes, tiles, microwaves, fish tanks, large metal objects or mirrors – these can all act as obstacles for your WiFi signal.

Check for background activity if you get sudden issues

When you’re already confident in your WiFi setup, it can be frustrating when the signal drops out of the blue. With the sheer number of wireless devices in the typical modern home, a common culprit for unexpected signal drops can simply be increased background activity. At any moment, our phones, laptops, gaming systems or any number of other devices may suddenly decide to do a system update, or back-up our files to the cloud, causing slower performance across the whole household. What may look like a WiFi drop may actually be your internet connection running out of bandwidth for all your connected devices.

If you are experiencing intermittent speed issues or buffering when streaming videos, check if your broadband plan is suitable for your needs. Internode NBN™ has a range of different speed options. You can see what’s available by checking your address on our website.

Considerations for your hardware

Sometimes the size or construction of your home just isn’t optimised for a WiFi signal, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options!

  • Wireless mesh networks
    A serious step up from a simple extender, wireless mesh networking systems have several WiFi devices installed throughout your home, all working for the same WiFi network. These devices capture each other’s WiFi signals and rebroadcast it, creating a “mesh” of WiFi signal without any dead spots.
  • Ethernet cabling
    Ethernet cabling just can’t be beat, especially when it comes to very time-sensitive operations such as online gaming or stock trading. To avoid running long Ethernet cables along floors or under doors, consider contacting an IT specialist or registered cabler to discuss getting Ethernet cabling installed in your home so you can simply plug into Ethernet ports on the wall in the rooms where you have your router, computer, gaming console and/or smart TV.